Design Engineer

"As long as I get the same opportunities, I have no problem working in a man's world."
  • Name: Isabel Van Hul
  • Age: 50
  • Studies: Landscape and Garden Architecture (HoGent)
  • Function: Design Engineer
  • Hobbies: Creative all-rounder

The 50-year-old Isabel Van Hul works as a Design Engineer at ITB. Within this position, she is responsible for creating the electrical plans for various projects. In most cases, this first involves a design phase, followed by a drawing phase. After that, the plans are delivered to the construction site.

Have you always dreamed of working as a Design Engineer?

Isabel: As a child, it was clear that I was destined to be an architect, because I loved to draw a lot. Consequently, I went to art school at an early age. Once in high school, I also followed a computer drawing course. I never had to think long about what I was going to study, but simply followed my passion. Yet this foundation did not immediately lead me to the technical field. In fact, after my studies, I first worked in a hotel in Switzerland for two years. When I arrived back in Belgium, the foundation I had built up no longer sufficed, because the sector evolves so quickly. But when one door closes, many others open. That is how I got back into the sector through an interim vacancy and, after a few steps in between, arrived at ITB as an electrical designer.

How does it feel to be surrounded mostly by male colleagues?

Isabel: Even during the computer drawing course, I was the only teenage girl in a class full of men who were in the process of switching their drawing boards to computers. So I soon knew that I would end up in a man’s world. I do not have a problem with that, as long as I also get the chance to prove myself. That is why I have a little magnet of the feminist “We Can Do It!” poster behind my desk. That way, anyone who comes to my office is immediately reminded that we, as women, can do anything that men can do.

What can we do to attract more women to the tech sector?

Isabel: Companies should continue to actively attract more women, because women are worth as much as men if given the same opportunities. Moreover, female engineers can add value by having a different perspective on a project or a different way of working. This campaign is a good example of the steps that VINCI Energies is taking, but of course we have not yet reached the final goal. Only when the balance has shifted can the male bastion in the technical sector really be broken. And to the women who hesitate to take the step: “Put on your gloves and join us in the arena!”

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